NASCAR has huge hole to fill after Earnhardt retires

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- There was a moment during the Bristol Motor Speedway race that captured the essence of Dale Earnhardt Jr. He was walking briskly to the care center for a mandatory health check after a crash. Flanked by a television reporter on one side, a handler on the other, he was explaining why he wrecked while hustling to his destination.

The Latest: NASCAR CEO calls Earnhardt a proven leader

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Latest on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s announcement that he will retire from racing at the end of the season (all times local): 4:55 p.m. NASCAR's chairman and CEO is praising Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s passion for the sport, saying it will "leave an impact on NASCAR that will be felt over its entire history.

Jimmie Johnson grabs rare Bristol win after Larson mishap

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) -- It was just last month when people were wondering what was wrong with Jimmie Johnson after he got off to a slow start. How silly it was to worry. Johnson grabbed a rare victory at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday, giving him consecutive wins for the 11th time in his storied career.

BC-AP Sports Digest

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Update on the latest sports

NBA PLAYOFFS-CAVALIERS-PACERS James helps Cavs hold off Pacers, earn sweep into 2nd round INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- LeBron James made a 3-pointer with 68 seconds left Sunday and the Cleveland Cavaliers hung on for a 106-102 series-clinching victory at Indiana. James finished with 33 points and 10 rebounds as he became the first player under the current playoff format to win 21 straight first-round games.

Rain washes out NASCAR race at Bristol until Monday

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) -- NASCAR has postponed the Monster Energy Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway because of heavy rain that is not expected to let up on Sunday. The race was pushed until Monday at 1 p.m. Weather has been a problem all weekend at Bristol, where Friday qualifications were washed out. On Saturday, the Xfinity Series race had a lengthy stoppage for rain.

Latest North Carolina, South Carolina sports

NC STATE-KEATTS CONTRACT NC State coach Keatts signs 6-year deal worth $2.2M annually RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- New North Carolina State coach Kevin Keatts has signed his six-year contract with the school worth at least $2.2 million per year. N.C. State officials released a copy of the contract Friday. The deal will pay the men's basketball coach an annual salary of $1.1 million plus another $1.

Update on the latest sports

NBA PLAYOFFS-SCHEDULE Celtics thump Bulls to get back in series. UNDATED (AP) -- Homecourt advantage has meant absolutely nothing to the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The top-seeded Celtics have bounced back from consecutive home losses to whip the Bulls, 104-87 and get within two games to one in the series.

With Texas changes, 6-time winner not even a NASCAR favorite

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Jimmie Johnson has led more laps at Texas than any other NASCAR Cup Series driver, and won a record six times there. But all that was before the entire 1 1/2-mile track was repaved, and Turns 1 and 2 were reconfigured. "It's a clean sheet of paper. You can't pick a favorite right now," Johnson said Friday.

Update on the latest sports

MLB-SCHEDULE Cards beat Cubs in opener UNDATED (AP) -- The Chicago Cubs' first World Series title defense in 108 years got off to an exciting yet disappointing start. Randal Grichuk (GRIH'-chuhk) capped his three-RBI night by lining an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Cardinals a 4-3 thriller against the Cubs in St. Louis.